24 June 2016

This is feature release, with support for Houdini Indie and direct rendering of VDB primitives.

  1. Get the install files on Solid Angle Downloads.
  2. Follow these installation instructions.

This release uses Arnold and OpenVDB 3.1.0.

Binaries available for the following Houdini, Houdini FX, Houdini Indie and Houdini Education production builds:

  • 15.5.480
  • 15.0.459
  • 15.0.416

and for the following platforms:

  • Linux x86_64 (gcc4.8)
  • Windows 7 x64 (vc11, vc14)
  • Mac OS X 10.8+

Please note that Houdini Apprentice does not support third party renderers and thus cannot run HtoA.

  • Houdini Indie: From Houdini 15.5 and Arnold, rendering in Houdini Indie is supported. In accordance to the licensing terms, ASS file export is disabled and resolution is restricted to HD resolution (1920×1080) when rendering animations. (htoa#777)
  • VDB primitives: Direct rendering of VDB primitives is now possible without writing them out to an OpenVDB file first, the volume data is attached to the Arnold volume node as a byte array. The OBJ Arnold properties now have extra parameters to finely control grid selection, motion blur, step size, etc. Note that clustered grids and motion blur are fully supported. You can optionally specify a path to write out the VDB primitives as an OpenVDB file that will be then referenced by the Arnold volume. (htoa#83)
  • Improved motion vectors workflow: The motion vectors workflow has been clarified and fixed. The motion blur settings on the ROP now clearly state that they control the geometry shutter, and a toggle in the camera properties forces an instantaneous shutter suitable for motion vectors without messing with your the camera shutter. Workflows where you generate a large geometry shutter and adjust the camera shutter after the fact are also re-enabled by this fix. Lastly, the legacy "Ignore Motion Blur" and "Reference Time" parameters are now moved to the Diagnostics tab. (htoa#781)
  • Improved SSS: Subsurface scattering has been modified to leak less light into areas where it shouldn't and properly contribute to indirect light. This improves results around the nose or mouth in typical head models for example. Previously SSS was ignored for secondary GI bounces or contributing to more bounces than specified with GI_diffuse_depth. (core#4174, core#2978, core#4648)
  • Faster rendering of few buckets: Rendering a small image will now scale to all available CPU cores regardless of bucket size. (core#4647)

  • Maximum number of threads: The maximum number of threads has been increased from 128 to 256. (core#5349)

  • Export absolute DSO paths: Currently the dso parameter for volumes and procedurals is exported relatively, with options.procedural_searchpath pointing to the HtoA installation location. While this is a sensible default, it is sometimes desirable to export the full path to the DSO so that, for example, when passing ASS assets containing volumes to Maya for lighting, the lighters don't have to set the procedural search path in MtoA. The new "Absolute Volume & Procedural DSO Paths" ROP option lets you do that. (htoa#797)

Incompatible changes
  • Better defaults in standard shader: The empirical SSS profile and GGX microfacet specular distribution are now used by default. (core#5317)

  • Removed ROP options: Removed obscure and seldom understood "Trace Log" and "Extra User Data" ROP options. (htoa#799)
  • Fixed quantization errors with linearized auto-generated 8-bit TX textures. The file size is reasonably increased by 19% for the improved precision. (htoa#795)
  • Fixed translation slowdown with "Use Existing TX Textures". (htoa#802)
  • Fixed exit code not propagated correctly in case of a render error, which caused render managers such as Deadline to report a success when the render was actually aborted in batch mode. (htoa#783)
  • Fixed the "Target SOP" mode for setting procedural bounds. (htoa#786)
  • Fixed light linking not working with a single light. (htoa#785)
  • Fixed "Create Intermediate Directories" regression. (htoa#789)
  • Fixed camera movement induced motion vectors. (htoa#781)
  • Fixed procedural overrides such as self-shadows. (htoa#791)
  • Force using the shipped psutil Python module to avoid conflicts with other system wide installations of psutil. (htoa#793)
  • Fixed deep AOV tolerance, filtering and precision parameters not passed to the deep EXR driver. (htoa#794)

See also the Arnold release notes for the full list of core enhancements and fixes.

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